Not many agents and salespeople in commercial real estate have ever done a ‘secret shopper’ check on their competition. That being said, it is a very powerful tool and will give you lots of ideas to work with.
So exactly what is a ‘secret shopper’ in commercial real estate? It is the process of having someone call your competition agents and ask them for some details on a particular listing that they have. What it will tell you is this:
- How timely they are in answering the telephone with property enquiries.
- How they return calls to people that make enquiry.
- Whether they ask the right questions of the person making the call.
- How intelligent or otherwise they are in the call contact process.
- What questions they do ask in finding out about the needs of the caller.
- How they give out property information in follow-up to a call enquiry
Now this is not ‘rocket science’ and is a gathering of basic sales market intelligence. It is just so easy to do. You just need a friend that is suitably primed with the right information and questions to make a telephone enquiry on your competitors.
This process will give you an idea of just how effective your top competitors are. It will likely give you a good idea of their weaknesses as well.
To get the process started you will need to choose a few properties in the local area that are advertised publically. When the advert hits the paper or the internet, get your friend to make the enquiry of the other agent via telephone.
Here are some of the parameters to use in the process.
- Give your friend making the call a list of the questions that are relevant to the property.
- Give your friend a profile and an email for the information to be emailed to them.
- Date and time of call
- Length of call
- Was the call answered the first time or did they have to leave a message?
- If they left a message, how many days or hours did it take for the agent to get back to your friend?
- Did they ask the following
- Property requirements
- Timing of need
- Contact details
- Arrange for an inspection
- Did they qualify your friend or was it a case of information overload and no connection?
You can add a lot more to this list. Importantly you will find out just who are the good agents and who are the poor ones. This process should be repeated every 6 months with the same top agents in your area; you will then know what you are up against and how you can improve.
Need more ideas or want to tap into a commercial real estate agent community online? You can do that at our website right here.